You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2012.

March sees the arrival of spring.  Nature is preparing for rebirth and renewal.  As beings of nature we should go with the natural flow of things and plant the seeds that will allow new beginnings to unfold and make the way for new discoveries.  This process of renewal happens every year and whatever time of life we are at, we can use the energy and motivation that spring offers to try something new. 

It is never too late to begin a yoga practice.   Yoga is not all about tying ourselves into a pretzel or standing on our head!  It is about meeting ourselves where we are and reconnecting with our body and breath.  We do not have to be flexible or spiritually minded to start practicing yoga.  However, with regular practice we can enjoy the benefits which include a greater awareness of our bodies and how they move; increased range of movement; improved posture and greater strength.  As these changes unfold, we will notice that we move with awareness and ease in our daily lives.  Our confidence builds as simple things, such as reaching and bending become less of a struggle.  As an added bonus, we can help to stave off the effects of ageing and cope better with those things we cannot change!  As BKS Iyengar (one of the world’s greatest living yoga teachers) states:  “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and to endure what cannot be cured.” 

Written by Ginny Haswell, Yoga Instructor  

Ginny offers a gentle Hatha Yoga class each Tuesday morning from 10.30 – 11.30am.  While it is not labelled as a class for ‘seniors’, those in middle age, retirement or simply in need of a gentle and nurturing class have found great benefit from attending.  As numbers are limited to 8 students per class, Ginny can offer individual guidance so that all participants gain maximum benefit and enjoyment from the class.

Here is a testimonial from Coreen, one of Ginny’s regulars in this class:

“Ginny’s Tuesday morning class for the slightly older person (!) has been such a wonderful thing for me. I don’t regard myself as a lover of physical exercise and yoga is the only activity that I have ever been able to keep up for any length of time. The atmosphere that Ginny has created within the group, however, allows you to work in a way that is sufficiently challenging and yet free from any pressure to compete. In the 2 years or so that I have been going to the class I recognise how much more supple and strong I have become – I think it’s essential that you continue to challenge yourself physically as you get older and Ginny sets the bar at just the right level. Finally, somehow, without diminishing our focus, Ginny manages to make the classes fun – I think that might be the bit that motivates me to keep up my yoga.”

To view our full range of yoga classes please see our timetable.

Many of us may have found ourselves listening to a friend/relative who appears not to be coping with the stresses of life, and/or who appears to be suffering from muscular pain/tension as a result of their stress. As a supportive friend perhaps we have suggested to our troubled pal/relativewhy don’t you have a massage to relax and unwind! Or perhaps this has been recommended to you? But have you ever really questioned how exactly does massage work in this way? Why is it relaxing?

 

Of course setting the scene helps, calming music and soothing aromatherapy oils both help to create an ambience conducive to relaxation, but what is happening physically to the body during a massage to achieve a further state of relaxation?

The level of tension held in muscle tissue throughout the body, is controlled by the nervous system. Tension can build up in specific areas of tissue that are continually held in a shortened position, this could be caused by an injury or by emotional, postural, occupational or over-use factors. The nervous system gets used to holding on to this tension and after time accepts this level as normal.

Deep tissue massage techniques on a tender spot often cause initial pain, followed afterwards by relaxation. A couple of theories have emerged to explain this, firstly the pain factor causes a release of endorphins which suppress pain and so release tension. Furthermore, the pressure compresses the blood vessels and starves the immediate area of blood, when the pressure is released the blood floods back in and the nervous system reacts to these changes by relaxing the local tissues that are being worked on . . . hey presto! Tension is released!

So we can see massage has a direct impact on the nervous system, it stimulates the nerve receptors in the tissues which control tissue tension and furthermore , the mechano-receptors (nerve endings) that respond to pressure, touch and warmth are also stimulated. When the therapist touches the clients body, this is registered by sensory receptors in the skin, muscles or joints and messages are relayed to the spinal cord and up to the brain for processing. This results in messages flowing down the spinal cord, via motor nerves to the skeletal muscle. The neurochemical balance in the brain responds to the incoming information and the homeostatic balance of the body is altered, this affects the parasympathetic pathway of the autonomic nervous system which results in relaxation.

There are 2 divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS is often called the “fight or flight” pathway which is triggered when we are startled, excited or challenged, it is aroused with emotions associated with anger, joy and fear.

The PNS is connected to the normal and relaxed functioning of the body processes. When the PNS is activated the heart-beat slows and blood pressure is reduced, breathing rate slows down and may become deeper, blood vessels to skeletal muscles return to normal and digestion is promoted. This is often why during a massage a client may feel their tummy rumbling.

Tension in the soft tissues may reduce output from the mechano-receptors, which can cause over-activity in the SNS. By releasing this tension, massage can restore the balance by stimulating the PNS and in so doing bringing the body back to a relaxed state of being.

Massage induces a state of relaxation by activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System – which lowers blood pressure, slows heart-rate and encourages deep, slower breathing.

 

Specific massage techniques help the nervous system “let go” which results in a release of muscle tension and a reduction in pain.

 

Written by Jeanette Mahoney – massage therapist

therapeutic, deep-tissue, thai yoga, chair, pregnancy massage

 

 

 

 

The power of touch! 

Massage . . .  relax  . . . unwind

 

Coast offers a variety of massage treatments from 30 – 90 minutes, ranging from £30-£60 from our team of therapists.

Massage Gift Vouchers are available

 

The perfect gift for Mothers Day!!!!

Hurray it is March, the beginning of spring and the start of a new cycle. I just love this time of year and the underlying energy of spring and rebirth. March sees the end of winters deep, conserving yin energy and now yang begins its rise; the days lengthen, the temperature rises, plants begin to grow again, and we come alive like the bulbs in the ground and the birds gathering sticks for nests.

 

We are nature, and that growth of activity and energy in the ground and sky is mirrored in us. Spring represents the growth of yang energy but also a corresponding growth in yin, as the goddess energy and fertility become nature’s fashion. I love to see the rhythm of yin and yang, always there and interconnected. Just beautiful. Spring equinox on the 21st this month is a great example of yin yang theory in action. 12 hours of sunlight, 12 hours of darkness. Perfect balance for one moment in time before yang begins to grow towards the longest day.

 

Fertility becomes an important part of nature’s business in spring and our subconscious feels this shift too. It is our movement through the cycle and rhythm of life, a deeply primordial desire to pass on our legacy and secure our lineage, from our ancestors onwards to our children that become important in Spring. Spring rouses us from the slumber of winter and reminds us of this deeper rhythm that life is about more than just what we have to do today.

 

Over the last few years acupuncture has become known for its ability to increase fertility with procedures such as IVF and ICSC. But improving natural chances of conception should be a first step for anyone trying to conceive. The rhythm of the menstrual cycle can easily become upset or imbalanced by lifestyle, emotions or illness, Acupuncture is very good at restoring order to the cycle, bringing rhythm and correct movement to each phase. The menstrual cycle is another perfect example of yin and yang in nature and in us.

 

The body begins by building a new endometrium for a potential life to bind to. These first 2 weeks (approximately) represent the yin phase, and focus on building blood, nutritious fluids and egg ripening. When yin reaches its peak and this process is complete, yang begins with ovulation and an egg is released. Movement and activity are now the focus of the following 2 weeks, as the egg moves down the fallopian tube and the body prepares for it to meet any potential sperm swimming the other way. If conception does not happen, the endometrium sheds, the bleed commences and the cycle begins again.

 

Acupuncture is great for working with the cycle, but what the acupuncture is really doing is helping us reconnect to those rhythms that make us human. We are a microcosm of the universe, and the menstrual cycle is just one cycle within humanity. There is  the yearly cycle through the seasons, the life cycle itself from birth to death, the astrological cycles depicting periods within our lives, and the cycles of our destiny: The reason for our lives unfolding through our actions and decisions.  All present rhythms we must follow to complete our life’s work.

 

Spring is a great time of year to feel the energy rising up and making us active in our lives. So be proactive and find your rhythm!

Written by Jeremy Marshall, Acupuncturist

The first day of spring is also called the vernal equinox which comes from Latin, “vernal” meaning “spring” and “equinox” meaning “equal night”. This is the time when there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness in the 24 hour day. It is only twice a year, on the spring and autumn equinox that if you were to stand on the equator, the sun will pass directly overhead. It’s been reported that the spring equinox is the only time of the year you can stand a raw egg on its end………

Along with the spring cleaning we do for our homes at this time of year, it’s also a great time to consider a spring clean of ourselves by doing a detox or cleanse. Equinox’s are a great time to reflect, retreat and ease yourself safely into the new spring energy by cutting down on the heaviness of winter foods that have helped fuel us through the cold.

First, lighten up your toxin load. Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, refined sugars and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body. Stress is another deterrent to good health. It triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts they create toxins and make your liver work much harder trying to deal with these.  So it’s a good idea to detox stressful life situations along with detoxifying your body.

Secondly, look at what you are putting into your body. At least 2 litres of water are needed daily for your body to function. Taking a bottle of water with you when you go out, or if you sit at a desk, ensure that as soon as your glass is empty, refill it straight away. If you’re like me, there’s always “something” to do, that is more important than filling an empty glass, getting into this good habit will benefit your health incredibly.

Next, look at your diet to give your digestive system a kick start. A diet based on beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds for protein, fruit and vegetables for lots of valuable nutrients. Minimize starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta bread and other flour products. It is best to avoid meat, fish and dairy food. Also stay off manufactured and processes foods as almost all contain a selection of high levels of fat, sugar, salt and chemicals. Cooking destroys some of the nutritious elements in foods, so eating raw food when you can avoids loss.

For a more intense cleanse, try a juice fast for 3 days… an internal shower. It is best not to use too much fruit because of the sugar contents. Lots of different coloured, organic vegetable is ideal.

To support your system one of these homeopathic remedies may benefit your cleanse and can be taken in low potency such as a 6c:-

  •    Berberis stimulates the kidneys and gallbladder and is a liver remedy. It helps if there is pain in liver and kidneys and is useful if there has been a history of bladder inflammation or cystitis.
  •    Carduus Marianus protects the liver from toxins and stimulates damaged liver cells to regrow. It can help cleanse the liver and assists digestions of fatty foods.
  •   Chelidonium also assists detoxification and clears blockages in the liver. It has been known to reduce blood pressure. A keynote for use of this remedy is if the right scapula is painful or history of right lung problems.
  •    Taraxacum has a diuretic effect and is used as a kidney cleanse and liver remedy. Use if there is fluid retention or difficulty urinating. You may notice a mapped tongue which is a useful indicator for this remedy.

Here a couple of simple naturopathic techniques you can use to support your body during a cleanse:

  • Dry Skin Brushing The Skin is an organ of elimination just like the kidneys and the colon, and more than 1lb of waste products are discharged through the skin every day! If the Skin becomes inactive with the pores choked by millions of dead cells, then impurities will remain within the body. How do you Dry Skin Brush? Using a natural, not synthetic body brush (preferably with a long handle), brush the skin when dry, starting at the soles of your feet and working your way up your legs, your front torso and your back, brushing as vigorously as you feel able to. Next do your hands and up your arms. Focus the brush strokes towards the heart. Don’t do your face but you can brush the back of your neck and scalp.
  • Hot and Cold Water therapy is a cleansing, revitalising and energising way to support your body and it’s totally free! Switching from hot to cold 3 times at the end of your morning shower will encourage blood flow to the surface of your skin pushing toxins out through the skin whilst encouraging circulation Gradually build up the temperatures as you go so that the last times are much hotter and much colder. Staying under the cold for a good 20-30 seconds at the end will leave you feeling fabulous! Finishing with cold brings about internal heat as the body will want to regain its temperature. Leaving yourself hot will not do the same. If you don’t have a shower then cool yourself down after your bath. Splash yourself all over with cool/cold water, especially your feet and legs (this helps to calm a busy mind). In an ideal world you would dry skin brush first thing in the morning, then shower after, ending with the hot and cold switch! A fabulous way to start any day.

What is one of the most important ways to detoxify the body? Exercise, whether its taking the dog out, gardening, walking the kids to school or more structured with a class of yoga, qi gong or pilates anything that gets the heart working that little bit harder will benefit your detox.

Mothers Day (18th March)

As my way of ‘BIGGING UP’ all the mums out there, I am offering my time on Monday 19th March free of charge (donations welcome which will go to charity). Interested?? If you are a mum and bring your children to the clinic, or if you come to the clinic and think your mother would benefit from a consultation with me then book in. Simple as that… Act quickly though as there are limited spaces.

So with your detox planned and your mother indulged, why don’t you go and try standing that egg on its end….. Or you could save yourself some time and eggs, apparently the equinox has nothing to do with it, it’s near on impossible at any time of the year!

Where to buy Homeopathic remedies – Homeopathic remedies can be bought from healthfood shops, chemists or pop into the clinic.

Homeopathic remedies are often used as self-help for simple conditions, however for more serious complaints a homeopath, GP or health professional should be consulted before using homeopathic medicines.

Written by Sarah Allenby-Byrne, Homeopath

Birth is the most all-consuming and overwhelming experience we will ever encounter.  Even with the most seamlessly sound birth, baby is exposed to a huge transformation as it moves from a dark fluid-filled space to one of air, light and noise.  The baby’s nervous system is ignited.  It takes its first breath, and first feed.  A rather hectic environment compared to the warmth and safety of the mother’s womb!

 

Our birth essentially moulds who we are.  It affects our nervous and immune system and imprints on our structural development.  How we come in to the world and our early pre-verbal experiences can also imprint into our early psyche and shape how we view the world around us.

 

It is therefore no surprise that many babies experience challenges and difficulties following birth.  Sleep, feeding, and digestive problems are common, as are changes in the shape of the head, glue ear, jaundice, colic and reflux.  There is often a general sense that baby is unsettled.   Birth can also be experienced as traumatic for both mother and baby.  In addition further medical intervention is often necessary for the safety of mother and baby for various reasons. 

 

The journey through the birth canal is the most challenging of our lives.  All babies experience compressive and rotational forces as they move through the birth canal. The soft pliability of the baby’s skull at birth allows the bones to move and slide over each other as the baby negotiates the bones of its mother’s pelvis.  The fluidic areas of the baby’s skull, called fontanelles, close between 3 months and 2 years.  During this time the process of ‘re-moulding’ takes place i.e. the bones move into a normal position in the head.

 

A common example of the impact of our birth relates to a major nerve, the Vagus nerve, which passes between two bones in the skull.  The Vagus nerve is key to our involuntary functions e.g. digestion and sleep.  As the baby passes through the birth canal, these bones can compress or impinge on the nerve and may cause problems with feeding or sleeping.

 

Birth also means dramatic changes in the nervous and endocrine (i.e. hormonal) systems of mum and baby.  A hormonal orchestra plays out facilitating labor, birth and bonding (oxytocin), a natural painkiller is released (endorphins), the need for action is stimulated (adrenaline and noradrenaline), and breastfeeding encouraged (prolactin).  Clever hey!  It takes a while after birth for the nervous systems of mother and baby to down shift and the complex cocktail of hormones to naturally change and either party may experience difficulties adapting as these changes take place.

 

In most cases with nurture from parents, the actions of sucking and crying (yes, crying can be a good thing), safety and any required medical care, the baby is able to naturally settle into its new environment and align the position of the bones in its head.    However, if the baby is unable to self-regulate, prolonged symptoms may occur. 

 

Here are a few tips and questions to ask if your baby seems unsettled:

 

  •  As a guideline only, if the baby makes eye contact when crying this usually means it has a need; where there is no eye contact on crying this may indicate the baby’s system is unable to self-regulate. 
  •  For the first 3 months the baby does not differentiate itself from its mother.  It is useful for mum to check  how she is in herself physically and emotionally.  As one party shifts, the other will also.
  •  Skin to skin contact, a peaceful environment and quiet time with parents will help fulfil the baby’s need for love and nurture.
  • How does the baby’s head look? 
  •  Does the baby startle/frighten easily or are they sensitive to touch in certain areas (often the head, feet and torso)?   Is there over sleeping/wakening during the night?
  •  If symptoms are prolonged or worsen always seek advice from your GP or health visitor
  •  Consider visiting a Craniosacral Therapist

 

It is encouraging to hear from clients that midwives, health visitors, doulas and other professionals are increasingly recommending Craniosacral Therapy (CST) for babies and children.  CST can assist with the remoulding process and structural birth patterns in the baby’s bones and tissues.  It also helps to down regulate the nervous system of both mother and baby and can help with bonding.  It is a safe and gentle treatment and is often relaxing for both mother and baby.

Written by Debbie Brown 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss CST please speak with our Craniosacral Practitioner Debbie Brown.

You can find Debbie on Coast website or on her own website

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 637 other followers

Coast Tweets

Coast Clinic

01273 321133
Tuesday: 10am - 7pm, Wednesday: 2.30pm - 6.30pm, Friday: 3pm - 7pm, Sat: 9am - 1pm